‘Blue Camellia’ inspires tour of Crowley area
CROWLEY – The city of Crowley gets visitors from all across the world, but Wednesday’s visitors had a special story.
Story being the operative word.
A book club out of the Mobile Bay area in Alabama visited Crowley after reading “Blue Camellia” earlier this year.
Every spring, “The Book Tripsters” take a trip somewhere that one of their books is set in. They visit sites related to the book as well as other sites the area has to offer of interest.
The group is made up of 18 retired women that come from various backgrounds and has been making these trips for 11 years.
“We pick the books we will read in the spring time the year before and travel the next spring,” said Mary Jane Skinner, the Book Tripster in charge of setting up the Crowley trip. “So we started planning the trip in the summertime.”
This year it was Crowley and “Blue Camellia,” the 1957 book written by Frances Parkinson Keyes. The novel talks about the development of south Louisiana from swampland to productive rice farms. It is set in the prairie country of South Louisiana and takes place on a rice farm. The protagonist and his wife are transplanted Midwesterners who arrive in Cajun country and see the Cajun culture through the eyes of outsiders.
The Book Tripsters had a very busy Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Acadia Parish Library where librarian Ann Mire talked about Crowley and Keyes’ connection to the city while giving them a tour of the facility, in particular the Archives room.
After their trip to the library, the group headed to the Grand Opera House of the South and City Hall for tours of the opera house as well as the four museums housed in Crowley Motor Co.’s building.
The Book Tripsters were then treated to lunch and tours at the Crystal Rice Heritage Farm before heading back mid-afternoon for a tour of The Gallery and the Historic Rice Theatre as well as a driving tour of Crowley’s residential historic district.
Their day ended at Frosto Drive Inn.
“We typically like to spend three to four days in the area when we go,” said Skinner.
Skinner was joined by Susan Dube, Martha Dwyer, Lena Speir, Barbara Siedell, Peggy Kitrell, Marion McKnight, Judy Jackson and Trish Phillips.
For Crowley’s part, Tourism Coordinator Charlotte Jeffers welcomed the group with open arms and pointed out how the group is a great example of the importance of the tourism industry as the group had the opportunity to see all what Crowley has to offer.